Owners who have jumped on the Erick Aybar bandwagon are feeling no pain.
Welcome to the debut of Game Report, our periodic column that’s going weekly. Every week, I’ll focus in on one game and provide you with all the relevant fantasy tidbits from it. This week, we caught Sunday’s game with the Angels, who have been rolling without their top two starters, taking on the Tigers, off to a very sluggish start, but showing signs of life.
It has been the same story for Tiger starter Justin Verlander all year long. He starts off cruising and then abruptly smashes into a wall. Nothing was different on Sunday.
Verlander only gave up two runs through five innings and then was torched for four earned runs in the sixth, leading to his exit and, ultimately, a 6-2 victory for the Angels over the Tigers.
Torii Hunter, signed as a free agent this offseason, led the way for the Angels, going 2-for-4 with a bases-clearing triple and three RBI. Surging shortstop Erick Aybar also provided a nice punch, going 2-for-3 with three RBI to raise his average on the season to a robust .346.
Los Angeles starter Jered Weaver was as equally impressive on the mound as were his teammates at the plate. He allowed only two runs on four hits in 6 1/3 innings, raising his record to 2-3 on the season and lowering his ERA to 4.21.
Outside of outfielder Magglio Ordonez, the Tigers struggled to get anything going at the plate. Maggs went 2-for-2, but the rest of the lineup was only 3-for-24 and was unable to crack Weaver’s code.
The always reliable Scot Shields came into the game in the eighth inning and wrapped things up with two innings of shutout ball.
The Los Angeles Angels of Southern California Orange County Near Anaheim towards Tijuana now sit at 16-10, tied with the upstart Oakland Athletics in the AL West, while the Detroit Tigers (hey, what a simple name) sit at 11-15, mired in last place in the AL Central. I guess money doesn’t buy championships, but then again if you have seen the Yankees the last eight seasons, you already knew that.
- While Weaver has gotten off to a mediocre start, he flashed his brilliance again Sunday which is why everyone is so high on the 25-year-old righty (that and the fact that he is not his gawd-awful brother Jeff). Continue to ride Weaver as he heats up right along with the weather.
- On the flip side, owners might want to bench veteran Gary Sheffield as he is batting a putrid .159 with only one home run. He is bound to pick it up eventually, but plug a different solution into your lineup in the meantime.
- Maicer Izturis, only playing because Howie Kendrick is hurting, left the game early with back spasms. This may be a blessing in disguise for fantasy owners, as Izturis has been awful, and this injury may precipitate the promotion of Brandon Wood. Chone Figgins shifted over to second when Izturis went down. As for Kendrick and is hammy, he’s expected to be activated this week.
- Edgar Renteria’s seven-game hitting streak was snapped, but he produced his 16th RBI of the year on a sac fly. He’s on pace for his second 100-RBI year and is batting .324. It’ll do.
- With another two hits Sunday, Casey Kotchman wrapped up a 5-for-11 series. We’ve been waiting on this breakout forever, and now it’s here as this kid is on pace for 200 hits. You want contact hitting? You got it. Kotchman has now gone six straight games without whiffing.
- Carlos Guillen (knee) was back in action after missing three games and it’s great to have him back considering he’s off to a monster start and was one of the only Tigers who was actually hitting when they started so weakly. Of greater interest from a fantasy perspective is the fact that Guillen was playing third base in place of Brandon Inge. Instead of shifting Miguel Cabrera back to third, Detroit opted to put a gimpy Guillen there. Interesting indeed. If nothing else, for leagues where only one game is necessary, Guillen now qualifies at third base, in addition to shortstop (from last year) and first base, making him an incredibly versatile commodity.